SEVEN Twyford mums are preparing for the challenge of a lifetime to raise funds for research into childhood brain tumours.

The friends will spend four days in the Swiss Alps next March climbing to a height equivalent to that of Mount Everest, whilst on skis.

Their fundraising was inspired by ten-year-old Twyford School pupil Toby Ritchie, who was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour at the age of ?ve and continues to battle the disease.

Toby’s mum Tanya Ritchie is among the women taking on the Everest in the Alps challenge, along with six of her close friends Lucy de Laszlo, Bebe Corbett, Tiggy Corben and Emily Bray, Sarah O’Gorman and Philippa McNeil.

All in their 40s, the mums have embarked on a strict ?tness regime ahead of the gruelling event in support of The Brain Tumour Charity. “This is about endurance and determination, rather than speed!” Tanya said. She said her team would be driven by Toby’s courage in the face of his diagnosis and subsequent treatment which has included 18 months of chemotherapy and several major surgeries, most recently last summer when the removal of part of his tumour meant he had to learn to use his limbs and walk again.

Tanya said: “He achieves so much - he is very inspirational, determined and gutsy. I hope we can all show the same resolve during Everest in the Alps.”

Next year’s Everest in the Alps expedition will be the second of its kind. The ?rst took place in March 2015, led by Tanya’s husband Rob and involved a single 14-strong team of his family, friends and colleagues. They raised almost £3m, allowing The Brain Tumour Charity to launch the Everest Centre for Research into Paediatric Low-Grade Brain Tumours earlier this year. This time, six groups are taking part. Toby’s Team will be the only all-women team attempting the challenge. All of the money raised through the expedition will help fund the work of the Everest Centre which aims to improve understanding of what causes childhood brain tumours as well as identifying more effective treatments with fewer harmful side effects.

Geraldine Pipping, fundraising director for charity, said: “Everest in the Alps is a tough challenge and we are immensely grateful to Toby’s Team.”

for taking it on in support of our work.“Their determination to create some good out of Toby’s diagnosis, and to change things for others in the future, is truly inspirational.”